Tag Archives: Hydroquinone

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.

Try These Ingredients To Brighten Skin

Why would anyone want “bright skin?” As a civilization, we are obsessed with reversing the effects of time, especially with regard to our skin. As we age, the skin that we were born with becomes darker, due to exposure to the sun and light. Although we may never hope to return our skin to the state from whence it came, there is promise of returning it to a healthier, simpler state, before the evil sun did its damage.

Woman with bright glowing skin

Skin brighteners defend skin against post- inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or any type of inflammation on the skin, specifically, blemishes from acne. Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation says,” When the acne resolves, sometimes the skin stains, which is causing too much pigment to be released. That’s a common issue where a skin brightener may help. In addition, skin brighteners help target age spots and brown spots, which are caused by ultraviolet rays.”

The Ingredients
Although most brighteners contain similar ingredients, they may work entirely differently depending on the formula. Here are some ingredients found in most skin brighteners and what they do.

Hydroquinone
While it may be 50 years old, “prescription hydroquinine is still the gold standard in bleaching,” according to Pearl Grimes, professor of dermatology at UCLA . The drug works to fade spots and block enzymes used to create new ones, and can lighten skin blotches in about four to six weeks when used in combination with a nonprescription retinal or retinoid.

Azelaic Acid
If your skin tends toward redness, this ingredient is for you. Often used as a treatment for rosacea prone skin, it “only targets melanin, so it doesn’t lighten healthy skin,” says Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai school of Medicine.

Woman with glowing skin
Melazyme
This enzyme has come a long way from its original purpose of whitening paper. Melazyme is the only ingredient capable of dissolving melanin on the surface of the skin. (Other enzymes impede the melanin production, blocking pigments from the surface of the skin.) The mushroom derived ingredient usually works within four weeks, as compared with the one or two months it takes for most brighteners to take effect.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a white powder used often used in Japan as a natural treatment for reduction of skin discoloration. Studies by the American Academy of Dermatologists have shown its clinical ability to fight hyperpigmention by limiting the tyrosinase, the protein which produces melanin. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, suitable for sensate skin.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutus is one of the most effective skin lightening ingredients available and has been proven to work on all skin types. The chemical properties inhibit tyrosinase from producing melanin, which is responsible for creation of pigment and outperforms all other bleaching agents. Alpha arbutus is found in a powder form and is pure and water soluble.

Beta Arbutin
Often referred to simply as Arbutin, beta arbutin, or bearberry extract lightens skin by inhibiting activity of tyrosinase. It is no as strong as its alpha counterpart, but has been used to treat skin pigmentation and brighten skin.

What do you know about brighter skin? Do you have any secrets to share? We love to hear them!

Key Anti-Aging Ingredients

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just click a button and magically stop our aging in its tracks? Well, of course, that would be amazing but unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury. We DO however have the ability to consume a number of ingredients that will help us slow down the aging process and look our best over time!

Woman applying sunscreen

First and Foremost. Sunscreen.
Sunscreen is easily overlooked and passed by day after day. Many of us think that sunscreen is only necessary when we are going to be in the sun for extended periods of times. But, we are so, SO wrong. Sunscreen should be part of your daily “getting ready” routine. Yes, that means before your makeup and before you leave your house for a “normal” day that may not even include any outside time. The sun’s harmful rays have a way of getting to our skin even in very short amounts of time. Using sunscreen daily helps prevent and slow the development of wrinkled, aged skin. As a result, your skin appears smoother and has a healthy glow rather than the leathery look the sun can cause.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids are the Next Best Option to Save Your Skin!
How would an acid prevent aging?!? Well, not all acids are bad for the human body. Alpha-hydroxy acids or AHAs have been around for quite some time but recently there has been more attention brought to them for their lasting effects on keeping your skin young! AHAs are found in nature, specifically in fruit and milk. These acids work to break apart the intercellular glue that holds old skin cells on the epidermis. Without this happening, your skin looks finer and brighter. That’s not it! Alpha-hydroxy acids also work to increase the production of collagen and elastic, both necessary for healthy looking skin. This leaves your skin feeling oh-so-soft because it allows your skin to retain more moisture. Be sure to apply your sunscreen before going into the sun if you are planning on introducing AHAs to your beauty regime. AHAs can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun but are TOTALLY worth the anti-aging benefits.

Retinol formula

Retinol AKA Vitamin A
Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients that has a way of telling cells how to act like an un-aged, healthier, younger skin cell. In other words, retinol is able to stop free-radical harm within skin cells that ultimately results in aged, wrinkly skin. Just as Alpha-Hydroxy Acids, it also has the ability to increase collagen production for smoother skin. But wait, that’s not all! This vitamin will literally decrease the appearance of discolorations on your skin from previous sun damage. Remember when you are shopping for Retinol products to stick to products that are in an opaque, closed container as sun exposure can break down the vitamins. In addition, start with a small mix of retinol and your normal moisturizer. Retinol creams can be known to aggravate skin so it is best to gradually introduce it into your daily routine.

The Spot Remover: Hydroquinone
For those who are looking for a way to look younger by banishing those darn dark sunspots from years of sun damage, you might want to try hydroquinone. Skin bleaching is a controversial topic so this product should be used with caution. A small amount will go a long way. This product will virtually fade hyperpigmentation by stopping the enzymes that increase melanin production.

Product Pairs to Avoid

At Vine Vera, we’ve discussed multiple times what skin care ingredients are beneficial to your skin. In our last post, we talked about quality skin care ingredients that work better together; some pairs are just meant to be. Not all skin care ingredients play nice with each other though. You probably have a counter or drawer full of products. It can be so tempting to keep buying the newest, most advanced skin care in hopes of attaining a flawless face. The problem with this is that every product will have its own list of ingredients and they may not work effectively on your skin when paired with another product and set of ingredients. Trying to figure out exactly which ingredients work together and those that don’t can be an overwhelming and exhausting task. That’s why we’ve put together lists of the best combinations and the worst. The following ingredient pairings are ones that you want to steer clear of to see maximum results from your skin care products.

Orange and milk

Vitamin C + Alpha Hydroxy Acids
The combination of these ingredients won’t cause adverse effects or counteract the effectiveness of the other, but it is still a combination skin care experts advise against. Vitamin C is found in the majority of anti-aging skin care products and rightly so. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that enhances skin tone, approve the appearance of spots caused by sun damage, reduce and prevent marks due to acne and it stimulates collagen production, which leads to decreased wrinkles and fine lines. Truly, vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to skin care ingredients. Alpha hydroxy acids, typically citric, glycolic or lactic acid, are also a very beneficial treatment against wrinkles, though in a different way. AHAs are generally used in an exfoliating way to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The problem with combining the two is that both of these ingredients is that both of them are acidic ingredients. Vitamin C is incredibly pH sensitive and AHAs can alter the pH levels of vitamin C, thus reducing or eliminating any antioxidant benefits from vitamin C. In addition, because these two are acidic, used together they can be incredibly irritating to sensitive skin.

Resorcinol + Hydroquinone
Though both of these ingredients are designed to decrease and treat hyperpigmentation, they don’t tend to work well together. Hydroquinone has been used as a skin care ingredient, particularly in the United States, for decades. Hydroquinone inhibits two skin enzymes: tyrosinase and homogentisic acid oxidase. Resorcinol is a newer ingredients in skin lightening products and also inhibits the above enzymes. Based on that, you would think that they would do double duty and work perfectly together, but they don’t. Pigment accumulates in the skin when homogentisic acid oxidase is inhibited. In dark-skinned individuals, the combination of these has been shown to actually permanently darken the skin rather than lighten it. It is important to note that this is a rare occurrence and is not a necessary cause for concern in people with lighter complexions, but it’s best to play it safe and pick one or the other.

Niacinamides and Sirtuins.

Niacinamides + Sirtuins
Some skin care pairings are shrouded in questions as to whether or not they are true. The combination of niacinamides and sirtuins has empirical research proving that these ingredients should not be mixed. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 and has multiple skin benefits. This ingredient helps to hydrate and soften your skin while also reducing the appearance, or preventing further, fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, niacinamide helps to prevent and treat age spots on your skin. Sirtuins turn off unnecessary gene expression, thereby conserving energy within your skin cells. A 2005 study by Johns Hopkins University found that niacinamide inhibits the sirtuins activity. In a way, it makes a lot of sense: niacinamides want to increase your cell metabolism while sirtuins want to decrease the metabolism. If you wanted to use both ingredients on your skin, make sure that you use them on alternating days or only one at night and the other during the day as using them at the same time will negate the effectiveness of the individual ingredients.

Of course, you want to achieve the best results possible with each and every one of your skin care products. Unfortunately, not all ingredients get along with each other and they can work against your skin. Though each is beneficial for your skin in its own way, sometimes, there can be too much a good thing.